Phillips O’Brien Joins CSIS as Non-Resident Senior Associate with International Security Program

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 2, 2023 – The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) today announced that Phillips O’Brien has joined CSIS as non-resident senior associate with the International Security Program.

Professor O’Brien is a widely cited analyst on issues of conflict, politics, war, and strategy in the 20th and 21st centuries. He has been a leading source of insights and analysis for policymakers and media during this most recent phase of the Russo-Ukrainian War. His deep expertise will bolster the International Security Program’s influential and timely analysis on the war in Ukraine and transatlantic security more broadly.

“Professor O’Brien is a first-rate military historian and an acute observer of contemporary conflict,” said Eliot A. Cohen, who holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at CSIS. “With his intellectual depth and shrewd insights into strategy, he will make a tremendous contribution to CSIS’s work on the changing character of war.”

Professor O’Brien currently serves as Chair of Strategic Studies and Head of the School of International Relations at the University of St. Andrews. He previously worked at the University of Glasgow from 1996 to 2016, where he served in numerous capacities, including professor, reader, senior lecturer, and lecturer in history. He also worked at Cambridge University from 1991 to 1996, where he was a Mellon Research Fellow in U.S. History as well as a Drapers Research Fellow in History.

“Professor O’Brien’s work on warfare and military strategy—including on air and sea power—is extraordinary,” said Seth G. Jones, Senior Vice President and Director of the International Security Program at CSIS. “His experience analyzing the war in Ukraine will play a critical role in our ongoing analysis of the Russian military, Ukrainian operations, and the future of warfare.”

Professor O’Brien has authored several books, including How the War was Won: Air-Sea Power and Allied Victory in World War II (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and The Second Most Powerful Man in the World: Admiral William Leahy, Chief of Staff to Franklin Roosevelt (Penguin/Random House, 2019). In 2024, he will be publishing Strategists: How Churchill, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini and Roosevelt were Made by and Made War (Penguin/Random House). He has also just signed a contract with Viking for a new book entitled War and Power.

Professor O’Brien has written for major journals including Foreign Affairs, Diplomatic History, Past and Present, and the Journal of Strategic Studies, and his commentary is regularly published in The Atlantic, The Times, The Spectator, The Telegraph, and other major U.S. and UK newspapers. He also frequently offers insights and analysis for leading media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, NPR, BBC, DW, and L’Express.

This press release has been updated to reflect Professor O’Brien’s correct title as non-resident senior associate.

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